Emmanuel Lutheran Church is a member of Lutheran Church-Canada. Our church body (synod) came from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the United States. We are "name brand" Christianity with a 500 year history and strong doctrinal roots.
Here is a little summary of our core beliefs.
# What is a Lutheran?
"Lutheran" is the brand our denomination of Christianity picked up after the 1517 Protestant Reformation. We took on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther's name because we follow his teachings about the Scriptures, Faith and God's grace for sinners. As time went on, Lutheran doctrine expanded and is now encapsulated in the Lutheran Confessions, a book of documents that further develop theological ideas and positions. These documents are our lenses for how we see and understand Who God is and what He does for us and our salvation.
# The Holy Trinity
We believe that God is the almighty Creator, Redeemer and Lord of the universe. He has revealed Himself in the created world we see (and what we don't see) and in the Bible, the world's all-time best selling book. He has revealed that He exists in a mystery - One God, yet three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
We confess the 3 Ecumenical Creeds that further develop this mystery. Creeds are short summaries of Christian doctrine that show us the Scriptural truths about God and people from the Bible and make what we believe easy to remember. Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed.
The story of salvation we preach to the world revolves around God creating people, people rebelling against God and then God coming to heal and save what was lost and destroyed. The Old Testament tells us from the beginning that God would send us a Saviour Who would come to 1) defeat our problem of death, 2) forgive our sins and 3) grant us life everlasting by faith. He accomplished this work of Salvation by sending Jesus (the Son) to be born at Christmas time (the incarnation), live a perfect life and die on the cross. Normally when people die, dead is dead. But because Jesus is both fully God and fully human, He rose again from the dead three days later on Easter. His victory over death becomes our victory by believing that He is our crucified and risen Saviour. This is what salvation from death, sin and the devil is all about.
# The Holy Spirit
People are naturally born dead - that is, cut off from God and each other. This condition is why we have sin and problems and disease and struggles and trials and heart-aches, etc. in our lives. It's the same reason two year old kids are such a pain! We have a fallen, corrupt nature that doesn't instinctively know God and His ways of righteousness. God the Holy Spirit was sent from God the Father to be our helper on Pentecost. He helps us by causing faith in our hearts and minds as we hear God's Word and believe in Jesus.
# Means of Grace
The Holy Spirit does His faith creating thing through "means." Think of a straw in a Milkshake. The Milkshake is salvation - everything that Jesus has done for us. The straw is the "means" - the way that salvation comes to us. The Word of God, the Bible, is a means of grace. Holy Baptism is also a means of grace, as is Holy Communion. Just like at creation when God made everything from nothing, through the Scriptures and the Sacraments - these "means" of grace, God creates faith, heals our brokenness and sustains our faith. This is not by what we do, but rather by what God has done for us.
# Baptism and Holy Communion
We call these Sacraments - the Latin version for the Greek word "Mystery." They are "mysteries" because God works in mysterious ways!
Holy Baptism is about what God does for us with water and His promise in the Scriptures. Baptism was commanded by our Lord Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20. Baptism is the means that people: 1) know who and whose they are as God's people (Colossians 2:11-15), 2) know that they have God's gift of salvation, victory over death and now serve God (1 Peter 3:18-22, Romans 6:1-4), 3) Know they have received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39), 4) know they have been "Born again" (John 3:3-7), and know they have been clothed with Jesus' righteousness (Galatians 3:24-27).
Holy Communion is about what God does for us in, with and under bread and wine as written in the Scriptures. Holy Communion was commanded by our Lord Jesus at Passover. He took the sacred victory meal of the Old Testament and linked it to Himself and what He was about to go through in His crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus said: “This is My body, given for you. This cup is My blood of the new testament, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25). He also said: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53-56). As Lutherans, we believe the words of Jesus that His true body and true blood are truly present in the bread and wine in a mysterious/sacramental way. This is the feast of victory over sin, death and the devil that our Lord promises us. We insist that everyone believe this if they wish to take communion in the Lutheran Church lest we run afoul of St. Paul's teachings in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29.
# Small Catechism
Our brand of Lutheran Spirituality is really spelled out in Luther's Small Catechism. It is a true "Basics of Christianity" book that all Lutherans are instructed in at the time of Confirmation. Luther wrote it because people in his day didn't know anything about the core teachings of Christianity.